Boxed sprints

Do you plan a 500 km drive like this?

You estimate the journey is going to take around 10 hours, break it into ten 50 km sprints. Let the driver know it is necessary to cover 50 kms every hour no matter what the conditions are. Mostly by 55th minute the driver should have covered 50 kms leaving the other passengers 5 minutes to stop the car verify that 50 kms have been travelled, the engine oil levels are fine, the tire pressure is also good.

You will also verify if the engine is running in optimum condition and let the driver know if the fuel economy was bad. If the target was not met, then you will switch off the AC for next one hour to save on fuel costs to make up the loss. Also your navigator would not have planned for more than 50 kms an hour, so the driver should neither exceed the distance nor slow down. This also helps the owner to compare the driver with other drivers and reward consistent behaviour. You proceed to complete the 50 kms as planned even if you know you are going in the wrong direction because you can replan only in the next hour.

Sounds familiar? Welcome to the world of enterprise standardized processes for agility.


A marathon cannot be run in sprints

Boxed sprints are one the biggest impediments to continuous delivery. A well staffed engineering team can put quality software in front of customers at a much faster pace and iterate on it. Fast development and continuous delivery means that it is not necessary to think and design in large chunks of work for things that can be beta tested and rolled back quickly if does not work.

Large companies keep surviving only because they are too big and have money to steam roll forward, but times are changing and new age companies are getting a good amount of investment if they have a good vision and a great team to execute. Soon smaller companies will be able to access money more and more easily in more and more industries. Faster iteration means, super fast adaptation to the market. This happens because they rollup information due to their speed, a good long writeup is from Tom Stuart in his website codon.com